Community Catalyst Program
The M7 Community Catalyst program provides direct and focused support to the region's economically disadvantaged communities to retain, grow and attract businesses. Specifically, this program develops, leads and implements strategies in the following focus areas:
- Business expansion and attraction
- Talent/workforce development
- Export assistance
- Foreign direct investment
- Capital funding
- Community programs
The program is supported with a five-year $650,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, awarded in 2015 and matched by an equal amount of M7 funding. Major development projects that are bringing new businesses and jobs to economically disadvantaged areas include Direct Supply on Milwaukee's northwest side, and Komatsu and Michels' new developments in Milwaukee's inner harbor district. These projects alone are creating more than 2,800 jobs with an annual payroll of $219 million, along with $430 million in capital investment.
M7, through its affiliates and partners, is also providing capital for venture funding, micro-business and small business lending, and crowd funding to support business development in disadvantaged communities. For example, working with the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp., the program has helped fund $6.6M in loans to 128 companies in economically disadvantaged areas of the region. Of those 128 companies, 108 are minority, female, or minority/female owned.